This is a controversial topic. So in order not to offend anyone let me say this. Everything in the Martial Arts realm is good in its own context, but when people preach that Judo is a realistic form of self defense or that a 1500 year old Karate system is the ultimate self defense then I have a problem with it. If you love the martial arts and your instructor makes sure you know that it is an art or sport and you are aware of the limits, great. If you like speaking Japanese, Chinese etc and the way of the ancient great, for that is the place for you. If you want to defend yourself as quickly as possible then you are in the wrong place because these people are sucking your money away and exposing you to great harm in a real life situation. You have no idea how many heart broken ex-martial arts students and instructors come to me for help. They have literally wasted anywhere from 1-15 years yes 15 years doing stuff that does not work. Then they spend 3 months with me and learn more and can apply more than they learnt in all the time they spend at other systems.
Unfortunately everything in the self defense world works on faith. You put your faith in an instructor because you assume he knows more than you do and after all let's face it, you have no idea about combat at all. The instructors are often painted with special names such as Sensei, Sempai, Sifu, and Master. Immediately placing them on a higher plane. Respect for their teachings is often demanded and no questions can be asked. After they are an expert are not they?
With many martial arts systems logic does not prevail. You are not allowed free speech and to question what you do. Here is an example:
You ask a question- "Why are we doing this technique?"
Your answer- "Because this is how we have been doing it for 600 years"
My answer as a combat instructor to a client is a complete logical response so the client can thoroughly understand the tactical and see the logic behind what they are doing.
Here is a realistic way to look at combat training. Humans progress through Evolution. Right? Then why is it that most martial arts system are done in the past?
Think about it. If I said to you that a horse was the best form of transportation because we were using it 600 years ago, you would call me an idiot. Yet, why is it that when someone who says that our system was created 600 years ago so it is the best form of self defense most people believe it?
It boils down to key factors that influence peoples beliefs about martial arts and combat training:
1. Faith- Can get you killed. Put your faith in logic not other people. Remember your instructor is a human not a god.
2. Movies- I saw the Matrix once and Keanu Reeves went flipping off wall to wall and dogged bullets but hey we all know that is a movie right. Why is it that people see a martial arts action hero and start perceiving that what he does on screen is a demonstration of their fighting skill? They are an actor and are there to entertain. Sure they are very skilled athletes but not one of them can perform exactly like that. Not saying they can not fight just saying that their skill on TV is just like a dance. Choreography. No one can fight like that so do not aspire too it.
3. Magic-Ever been sold a martial arts system on some amazing feat? You know egg standing, knock out point demonstrations, concrete breaking, board breaking, ice breaking etc? Some of these are great feats of strength. But most are tricks, designed to make you believe in the hidden secrets of martial arts. All of them fail to demonstrate one thing. Why they are useful in any real world combat application. Each one of the ones I listed have a trick behind them and have been used for centuries to build faith and fear in people. It's no different to David Copperfield making the statue of liberty disappear. Some of them require great amounts of concentration and special breathing. Bit hard to tell a guy about to punch you in the head "hang on I just need to develop my chi for 5 minutes"
4. The club hero- So you go to a martial arts school and argument logic and they say but wait we have "Joe Bloggs" who is our expert fighter. You watch this guy and he is awesome can move and fight with ease. If he can do it you can right? Wrong. What they did not tell you is that they have 500 students and no one can fight except for that 1 guy. A good combat system is one where the mass majority of people are proficient at what they do not the minority. Some people are super athletes that can apply anything they know. But this is not the mass majority of people.
It is for these very reasons I hate being painted with the Martial Artist brush. I have been there and will never go there ever again. I am a combat instructor and my role and promise to those who train with me is simple.
1. To teach people to survive in the worst possible situations.
2. To ensure that I always respond with a logical and practical solution
3. To deliver information in the easiest possible format so that you can apply what you know.
4. To have you walk away knowing you have made the best investment in your own personal protection.
5. To paint my self as a normal human being not some sort of god.
6. To only deliver information that is realistic and that has purpose to reality based combat training.
These basic promises are what any professional combat instructor should be delivering too you. If not. Find somewhere else to train. If you are like I was once and hunting for all the solutions because something did not feel right. Or you were waiting for the big secret to be revealed cut your loses now. Find a new training place that will deliver you the truth of reality combat training.
Whether you start training with me or someone else choose a reality based training system. I teach Close Quarter Combat a blend of the very best military, martial arts and law enforcement tactics. Realistic, logical and effective. You can visit my site at [http://www.cqctactics.com] and email me directly from there if you have any questions.
I hope this article helped open your eyes to the reality of combat training and helps you make a more informed choice about real world self defense training.
Chief Instructor for the SFCA CQC System